Take the “Hard” Out of the Hard Market: Tips and Strategies for Personal Lines Consumers
From the Desk of Kellie Eastham – Vice President of Personal Lines, Dimond Bros. Insurance
Have you heard that right now we are in a “Hard Insurance Market”? Do you know what it means? Are you tired of hearing about it? Do you wonder how it will impact you? As professionals in the industry, we spend time understanding the industry and market and how it will impact our customers (both current and future).
A hard market is a term utilized in the insurance industry when there is any combination of the following: increased premium costs for insureds, stricter underwriting criteria, less capacity, restricted terms of coverage, and less competition among insurance carriers for new business. If you’ve received your renewal recently or are trying to quote your insurance, you are probably experiencing some of the above. This hard market is impacting nearly all lines of insurance.
Personal lines of insurance typically cover individuals and families for things like auto, home, and personal liability. In a hard market, insurers are more selective about the risks they are willing to insure, and they charge higher premiums for coverage. This means that if you're looking for personal lines coverage, you may be facing higher rates or reduced coverage options.
So why is the personal lines insurance market currently hardening? There are a few key reasons. One is an increase in catastrophes like hurricanes, tornadoes, and wildfires, which has led to more claims and losses for insurers. Additionally, there have been legal and regulatory environment changes, such as new privacy regulations and increased scrutiny of insurers' underwriting practices. Finally, economic conditions have played a role, with low interest rates and a soft market in recent years leading some insurers to underprice their policies.
Now that we understand what a hard insurance market means for personal lines and why it's happening, what can you do to navigate it? Here are a few tips:
- It can be tempting to shop around for a new personal lines insurance carrier when the market is tough. However, it may be in your best interest to stick with your current carrier. Not only do you already have an established relationship with them, but they may also be willing to offer discounts or loyalty incentives to keep you as a customer. Additionally, switching carriers can come with its own set of headaches and potential gaps in coverage. So before you make any hasty decisions, consider the benefits of staying put during a hard market.
- If you have multiple personal lines policies - like auto and home insurance - consider bundling them with one insurer. This can often lead to discounts on your premiums.
- Evaluate your risk management. Insurers are more selective about the risks they are willing to insure in a hard market. By improving your risk management practices - like installing a home security system or taking a defensive driving course - you can make yourself a more attractive risk for insurers.
By understanding what the hard insurance market means and why it's happening, you can take steps to protect yourself and mitigate your risks. If you are currently looking for an insurance partner to help you navigate these times, we would love the opportunity to review your needs. Our goal is to offer insurance solutions that simplify your life. Together, we’ll find relevant insurance options that protect you and what you care about. Please visit our Personal Lines page to request a quote or contact us to connect with one of our Personal Lines team members.
This article is not intended to be exhaustive, nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice.